The Greyhounds (0-4) started four players 6 feet or taller, but had trouble scoring inside. The smaller Mountaineers (4-1), who start three seniors, were content to shoot from farther out or on fast breaks.
The Mount shot 56 percent and took advantage of 28 Loyola turnovers, two things that left Greyhounds coach Pat Coyle especially frustrated.
"You've got to defend people in college [basketball]," Coyle said. "You've got to play hard every night."
The Mount, meanwhile, shut down the only upperclassman to start for Loyola, senior forward Lynn Albert, who had scored 24 a year ago when the Greyhounds prevailed, 63-47. Last night, Albert was held to three shots, four points and one rebound.
Megan Gardiner scored eight of her team's first 10 points as the Mount bolted to a 10-2 lead. Loyola tied the game at 14 after a pair of three-pointers by Kristin Fraser, but Mount St. Mary's outscored the visitors 31-13 to build a 45-27 halftime lead.
The Mount shot 61 percent from the field before intermission. While Loyola shot 46 percent, the Greyhounds missed several key inside shots.
"I don't think they've shot the ball that well all year," Coyle said. "But that goes back to us not defending them."
The Mountaineers steadily built their lead in the second half, and were up by 22 twice late in the game. But after a free throw by Tchernavia Hill put Mount St. Mary's ahead 75-53 with just under three minutes to play, Loyola scored the final 14 points.
"You just know they're never going to quit," Mount coach Bill Sheehan said.
The road doesn't get any easier for the Greyhounds, who visit Maryland on Tuesday. Still, the last time it started this badly, Loyola ended the season in the NCAA tournament.
"We're not giving up, that's for sure," Coyle said. "We're going to get back to basics and learn how to run our offense."
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, visit American on Thursday, and Sheehan hopes his team can continue to find ways to score with just one 6-foot starter.
"We're still trying to jell," he said. "We were very aware of the height difference [with Loyola]."
Pub Date: 12/08/96